Re: Iver Johnson Revolver Questions
this is a 'safety automatic revolver' manufactured either in 1895 or 1896. if manufactured in 1895 it will have the barrel release latch on the left side of the barrel top strap and it will be a first model (1894-1895). if the barrel is opened by lifting up on the round knobs on either side of the top latch it is a second model (1896-1908). both first and second model were manufactured for black powder cartridge pressures and are not safe with modern ammo.
the number scratched on the frame must have been put there by some past owner as a means of identification. there are no know records of any military usage of the first and second models. some third models (1909-1941) were purchased by the navy dept. in 1911 and 1912 and several express agencies also purchased third models.
i would advise against rebluing as the the modern methods used to blue these older firearms sometime turm them purple instead of blue. i would clean it up stopping all active rust replace the grips (try e-bay) and hang it up as is.